THERE'S no place like home.
As the 2011 American Association season comes to a close next week, the Winnipeg Goldeyes were given one more chance to impress the home crowd at Shaw Park. In somewhat of an ironic twist however, the story became the fans impressing the team.
For just the sixth time in franchise history, more than 8,000 Fish faithful came out to support the team — 8,065 to be exact — and the atmosphere in the ballpark Friday night was absolutely electric: the patio deck was packed, the crowd at Hu's was hectic, and the concourse at looked like Times Square on New Year's Eve — with a few more Ace Walker jerseys.
"There's a reason we have such a good home record," manager Rick Forney said. "We play in the best park in the best city in the American Association. The fans are so passionate, they fill the park every night, and for that, we love you and thank you."
In the middle of the fifth inning, it was announced that Forney has been named the American Association's manager of the year.
This season marks the 39-year-old Forney's sixth season as manager, where the Maryland native has posted a .542 winning percentage. The Goldeyes have made the playoffs five of those six seasons, including this one.
"The entire organization is thrilled with the job Rick has done this season and is very proud of him for winning this award," said the team's general manager, Andrew Collier, in a press release. "This has been a season of transition for the Goldeyes moving into a new league. Rick has met the challenge by building one of the best teams in all of independent baseball. He is very deserving of this award."
In the middle of the second inning, veteran infielder Brian Myrow was presented with the Rogers Goldeyes Player of the Year Award, as voted by the fans.